ENGL 494 A: Honors Seminar

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
CMU 243
Michelle Liu
Michelle Liu

Syllabus Description:

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This session of the honors sequence will focus on our own vulnerability, emotions, and blindspots to explore the use of affect theory in investigating the narratives that culturally define who, and what, gets counted under the category of “human.”  We’ll start by getting familiar with affect theory in relation to empathy, narrative, and readerly reaction by juxtaposing readings of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird  and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. We’ll then move into considering how the works of Viet Nguyen’s The Refugees, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West; Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: on Blackness and Being; Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me; and the Amazon series Transparent push us to consider our own personal epistemologies in seeing pasts and future possibilities written out of normative definitions of “the human.” 

The writing assignments for this quarter will focus on writing within the public humanities, generally defined as making critical thinking matter for audiences outside the academy. We’ll discuss the differences made in how you write and what you write when addressing readers “inside” versus “outside” of the academy. How do the stakes of writing change? How does the kind of thought that you do change? What kinds of writing most suit the motivations that brought you to Honors English?


Catalog Description: 
Survey of current issues confronting literary critics today, based on revolving themes and topics. Focuses on debates and developments affecting English language and literatures, including questions about: the relationship of culture and history; the effect of emergent technologies on literary study; the rise of interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Honors Course
Last updated: 
February 6, 2018 - 10:40pm